The landscape of antibiotic resistance

Intrinsic antibiotic resistance has been a fact of bacterium life since long before humans discovered the use of antibiotic drugs. However, the introduction of pharmaceutical antibiotics in the 1940s and explosion in use ever since dramatically accelerated the spread of antibiotic-resistance genes. Today, the problem of antibiotic resistance is so extensive that the future of existing antibiotic therapies may be in jeopardy unless antibiotic use, dissemination, and environmental releases are better controlled. Antibiotic stewardship programs have been introduced in hospitals as a multidisciplinary approach to tracking antibiotic use and ensuring that the drugs are not overprescribed. Scientists recently proposed the concept of a "resistance footprint" to better identify and address antibiotic releases from hospitals, homes, pharmaceutical factories, wastewater treatment plants, and animal farming operations.